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Sister Leclare Beres, FSPA
sister leclare beres fspa
Sister Leclare Beres, FSPA, 1926-2014 - photo by Contributed photo

Sister Leclare Beres, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 88, died Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare. She was in the 68th year of her religious profession.

Born on July 21, 1926, near Elroy, Wis., Sister Leclare was the daughter of Mathias and Clara (Staerz) Beres. She entered St. Rose Convent in 1944 and professed vows in 1947.

Entering the healthcare profession, Sister Leclare worked in pediatrics and as director of nursing for 30 years in St. Francis Medical Center (Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare), La Crosse, St. Anthony Hospital, Carroll, Sacred Heart Hospital, Idaho Falls, and Guam Memorial Hospital. She served her FSPA community as health care coordinator from 1976 to 1980 and as a member of the Formation Team from 1982 to 1987. During this time she was also working at the hospital and then became director of the Indochinese screening clinic, which provided healthcare to the refugees from Southeast Asia for 14 years. In 1993, St. Clare Health Mission was founded and Sister Leclare was appointed director. After 10 years, she retired from that position but continued to volunteer at the mission. Sister Leclare retired at St. Rose in 2006. She moved to Villa St. Joseph in October 2014 when her health seriously declined.

Community members, family, colleagues and friends remember Sister Leclare as a simple Franciscan, a prayerful woman, a champion for the poor. She spoke her mind readily, confronted injustices and was exceedingly compassionate. Sister Leclare worked with people from different cultures and found it such an enriching experience. Her name is well-known in the La Crosse area and more than once she was referred to as St. Clare, so closely associated she was with the St. Clare Health Mission. For her dedicated service to the community and to the poor, Sister Leclare was awarded the YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women in 1992, the Franciscan Skemp Foundation Spheres of Influence Award in 1993, the Viterbo College (University) Pope John XXIII Award in 1995, the Iverson Freking Ecumenical Recognition Award in 1996, the Rotary Club’s Jean Harris Award in 2000, the La Crosse Tribune’s first Person of the Year Award in 2002, and the Marquette University Alumni Service to the Community Award in 2005 ... to name just a few.

Sister Leclare is survived by her Franciscan community; three sisters, Monica (Paul) Zielinski, Clemson, S.C., Eileen (John) Krubar, Campbell, Calif., Patricia Beres, Truth or Consequences, N.M.; two sisters-in-law, Barbara Beres, Elroy, and Edith Beres, Wonewoc, Wis.; and nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; five brothers, Stephen, Raymond, Clarence, Floyd and Louis; and two sisters, Sister Theone and Florence.

Since Sister Leclare had requested a natural burial, a prayer vigil was  held at 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at Villa St. Joseph. The Mass of Christian Burial was scheduled to be celebrated at 9 a.m. Monday at the Villa. Burial followed immediately in the natural burial grounds for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at Villa St. Joseph. There will be a gathering and sharing for friends and relatives at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, at St. Rose Convent. A memorial Mass will be offered for Sister Leclare at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5, at St. Rose.

Memorials may be sent to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 912 Market St., La Crosse, Wis., 54601-4782 or St. Clare Health Mission, 916 Ferry St., La Crosse, WI 54601.

Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting with the services.